Touching the void

Touching the void, a 2003 documentary/ re-enactment of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates Harrowing climb on Siula Grande. The director Kevin MacDonald uses interviews and Re-enacted scene to build a narrative account of the incident, During the film, each man is interviewed separately. I feel this parallels each man's personal journey, by doing this it really brought home the though of being alone and possible helped each man give a better account of what happened on the mountain. If both men were together during the interviews, I feel the impact would have been less.

The re-enacted Scenes were Acted to the standard of a feature film and not "999" style footage. The scenes tie in well with the interviews, so much so they provide a great voice over. Visually you get the scene, with voice over providing an insight in the mind of a man who cut the rope on a friend, and a man who fought the odds repeatedly in a desperate attempt to survive.

I believe the movie gives a fair account on the incident, It doesn't portray Simon's actions as right or wrong, Just as the only option available to him in the moment. Neither does it portray Joe as a mastermind who cleverly Survived using some extreme skills, but just as a man who crawled his way to life. In no way am I undermining the story or Joe's struggle, I'm just saying I found the story to be more human, rather than a feel good survival tale. Both men survived but it wasn't a happy ending and they are both left with a grey area they probably can't even feel good with.

If that was the story Kevin Macdonald intended to show, then he was successful.

James Reid